PONANT has continued to explore all technology options, towards more sustainable tourism, the company said.
Following last year’s introduction of ‘Le Commandant Charcot’, claimed to be the world’s only luxury icebreaker and hybrid electric powered by LNG, PONANT’s R&D team is working on an eco-design cruise ship that will have no impact on the environment when sailing.
When delivered, this next ship will be the 14th in the fleet, the company said.
“For several months now we’ve been working on a new whole life cycle concept ship to reduce her ecological footprint. We’re assessing all the potential impacts: discharges into the atmosphere and water, microplastics, noise levels, and social and human impacts.
“As with ’Le Commandant Charcot’, she will also be available to scientists. A total new generation ship needs to be designed and we intend to deliver it,” explained Mathieu Petiteau, PONANT’s Newbuilding and R&D Director.
The new ship’s technical and commercial criteria have been established in consultation with all the relevant departments. The project’s aim is to deliver a ship that can combine several non-fossil fuel energy sources, including wind propulsion, by integrating technological systems.
Design work should be ready by the end of this year, with the preliminary plans produced and technical specifications drawn up for a call for tenders. The goal is to have the ship in operation by 2025.
This ship project is in line with PONANT’s six environmental commitments, the company said, one being to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.
PONANT’s R&D team’s mission is to identify and assess options most likely to accelerate the ecological and energy transition across the whole fleet.
In terms of energy efficiency and optimisation, structural modifications to ships and protecting ecosystems, there are many avenues to explore and progress. For example, new generation biofuels are being assessed, such as green hydrogen, as well as the possibilities for wind and water propulsion.
PONANT is also working with other industries and contributing to various European research projects to develop and test these technologies.
It said that as a company committed to more responsible tourism and meaningful exploration voyages for over 30 years, PONANT puts R&D at the core of its growth strategy to meet both the ecological challenges and demands of its customers and offer them new inspiring experiences.
In addition, this month, PONANT will see the return of the three-masted sailing yacht ’Le Ponant’, following a complete refit.
The 88 m long sailing yacht will return to service in the Mediterranean with 10 departures and three new itineraries, followed by winter 2022/23 in the Seychelles and the summer of next year sailing in western Australia’s Kimberley region.
With just 16 staterooms and suites accommodating a maximum of 32 guests, ’Le Ponant’ offers a 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio. Cabins are spread over three decks, each with large windows overlooking the sea.
During the refit, ‘Le Ponant’ was fitted with the latest environmental innovations, including an SCR filter system that reduces nitrogen oxide emissions by 90%. Other sustainability-centred initiatives included non-motorised water-based activities, an emphasis on local, organic products, and periods of sailing using wind power.
The latest Zodiac boats will enable guests to reach hard-to-access areas, while an exclusive partnership with Paspaley Group will offer private scenic flights on board one of the brand’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats.